There has been a lot of excitement and anticipation for the new COVID-19 vaccine. But we still have a few months ahead of us before it is widely available. At the Utah coronavirus website (coronavirus.utah.gov) you can see the Utah Department of Health’s schedule.
On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, Bear River Health Department(BRHD) Emergency Response Coordinator Mike Weibel talked about how the schedule came to be.
“There was a committee of state and local health officials that had been meeting for several months. Part of what they were doing though was waiting for guidance from the CDC and other federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. So they used that guidance and developed our list of priorities, however, that is very much a fluid list. I wish I could say that we had a hard-fast schedule that we’re going by or even knowing what group is going to be next,” Weibel explained.
He said the last couple of weeks they have been vaccinating hospitals, long-term care facilities are getting started with vaccinations along with EMS staff, including EMT and paramedics.
“The decision was made earlier (Monday) to add firefighters and law enforcement to the EMS staff that we’re able to vaccinate right now. So we have a large number of groups that we’re trying to get those first deliveries of vaccine out to for their first doses. Of course all the vaccine that we’re currently giving does require a second dose.”
After that Weibel said they are fairly confident at BRHD that the next group will be K through 12 teachers and faculty. He said a lot of these decisions are based on how many people they are giving the shots to each day and each week. But also how much vaccine they get each week.
Weibel said they don’t want to schedule clinics until they know they are getting the vaccine and right now it’s a week-to-week basis.